History Of The Hampton Beach Fire Department (1906 thru 1936)

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1800 - Hampton Beach History - 1936

Hampton Union, August 13, 1936,

"A Souvenir Edition"

"The citizens of Hampton's Beach area gathered together in 1906 to draw up a petition to be presented to the General court of the State of New Hampshire for the right to form a precinct.

"The main object for which was to have their own fire department. In 1907, the petition was granted. The department was then organized under the supervision of the Hampton Beach Fire Commissioners. The first fire-fighting equipment was purchased by the commissioners in 1908 which consisted of three hand reels drawn by members of the department. The first major change was made in the Spring of 1916 after the citizens of the beach became alarmed after the serious fire which occurred in Sept. 1915 on the corners of B street and Ocean boulevard which started about two o'clock in the afternoon and swept more than four blocks, doing thousands and thousands of dollars worth of damage. The local department at that time was not equipped to fight such a fire and help was called from nearby towns. So in the spring of 1916, a reorganization was made and the commissioners appointed Alec H. Brown as the first permanent chief. They also ordered the first motor apparatus for the department which was a Keissel combination hose and chemical truck. This was kept in the office building of the Casino garage. In 1917, the following year, a telegraph box system was purchased from the Gamewell Underground Telegraph Company of Upper Newton Falls, Mass. This system was installed by Chief A. H. Brown under the supervision of the telegraph company. It consisted of 5 boxes; today (1936) there are more than 32 on the whole beach.

"In 1922, the first fire house was built also under the direction of Chief A. H. Brown. In the same year, an Aherns-Fox pump and ladder combination was put into use making two motor driven fire engines.

"In 1923, the fire house was burned down. Immediately, the work was started to rebuild a fire station of modern design and soon there was a 2-story stone structure of a cement base and has a capacity of housing 5 modern fire trucks with a 3 door run. It was rebuilt on the site of the first fire house on Marsh (Ashworth) Ave. where it still stands. In the month of March 1924, Chief A. H. Brown resigned his office after having been with the department for over 9 years of active service.

"The following month, Homer B. Whiting was appointed chief of the department which command he now holds. The same year, the Town of Hampton purchased a Reo combination hose and chemical truck, after having been consolidated with the precinct.

"In 1925, the Hampton Beach fire commissioners purchased a White Ladder Truck city service type, also a Reo Touring car to be used by the chief for official business. In 1926, a Packard triple combination was also ordered and put into service. From then, until 1929, nothing happened of any importance. When in 1930, a Chevrolet hose wagon was put into service which was later changed to a pumping engine. In 1932, the members of the department built a trailer type water-tower which is used for high pressure work. In 1934, the fire members of the department started construction of a drill tower which is 35 feet in height and is used to train members and practice in the use of fire fighting.

"In 1935, a two wheel trailer portable forest fire pump was also built by members of the department for use in fighting forest fires. This can be attached to the chiefs car and can be carried to the scene of the fire from the road. The present members of the department are: Chief Homer B. Whiting, with the department since 1924; Deputy Chief George H. Lamott; Lt. G. Harold Irwin; Pvts. Perley George, Arthur B. Collins, Victor Bogrett and 29 men on call.

"Thus is the progress and advance over the past one-fourth [century] of the development of the Hampton Beach fire department. Through to today, the Hampton Beach fire department stands out as one of the most efficient and modern equipped department of any of its kind in New England.

[For a more detailed history of the Hampton Fire Department see this article from the Atlantic News]

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